Required Reading

Seth Mandel writes that “we have to talk about Obama’s ignorance,” although some days it feels like that’s all we’ve been talking about for the last six or seven years. That old ennui aside, Mandel has brought together a lot of the President’s Greatest Misses into one column. Here’s the one which concerns us most today:


It is not my intention to run down a list of all Obama’s flubs. Everybody makes mistakes, and any politician whose words are as scrutinized as the president’s is going to have their share of slip-ups. Yes, Obama is a clumsy public speaker; but that’s not the problem, nor is it worth spending much time on.

The problem is that Obama tends to make mistakes that stem from a worldview often at odds with reality. Russia is a good example. Does it matter that Obama doesn’t know the basics of Vladimir Putin’s biography and the transition of post-Soviet state security? Yes, it does, because Obama’s habit of misreading Putin has been at the center of his administration’s failed Russia policy. And it matters with regard not only to Russia but to his broader foreign policy because Obama has a habit of not listening to anyone not named Jarrett. Obama appointed among the most qualified American ambassadors ever to represent the U.S. abroad in sending Michael McFaul to Moscow. But with or without McFaul, Obama let his own naïveté guide him.

We won’t really have a post-racial country until we can have an frank discussion about the real and lasting harm Valerie Jarrett has done to it.


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